TEL AVIV – “F**k ‘em,” The Stranglers’ Jean-Jacques “JJ” Burnel said about anti-Israel boycotters over the legendary British punk rock band’s decision to perform in the Jewish state.
“There’s an awful lot of animosity toward Israel, but there’s also a lot of respect. So yeah, we’ve been criticized for coming to Israel, but f**k ’em,” “JJ”, the 64-year-old co-founder, bassist and producer, told The Jerusalem Post.
The band is set to perform in Tel Aviv on Thursday. They first performed in the country in 2008 with Blondie.
“JJ” told the Post he and his band mates had “had a great time back then.”
“Tel Aviv is such a rocking city and the Israeli people are so open and fun to be with. I don’t think the outside world realizes how cool it really is there,” he said.
He praised Israel for being a “true democracy” in a region fraught with authoritarian regimes, and said that “people are generally ignorant of the situation in Israel and they just read the headlines.”
“They don’t realize that Israel is a democracy in a sea of f**ked up countries. A true democracy with the Left and Right able to express themselves.”
“JJ” continued that while he understood that there is a “big dispute” surrounding the territories and the Palestinians, “I know for myself that if someone was threatening to throw me back in the sea and that someone is my neighbors, then I would predispose myself in a certain way and safeguard myself.”
“My thinking is, if someone invited to perform professionally, I weigh the offer and decide to accept it or not. I accepted the offer to play in Israel. Full stop,” he added.